City Ballet’s Trustees Barbie and Dan Spinazzola served as Honorary Chairs for City Ballet of San Diego’s annual fundraising Gala on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Hotel del Coronado, City Ballet’s Season Sponsor. The beautiful new Vista Walk was the location for the festive reception, hosted by the Del. The evening began with eager guests posing in and around the magnificent vintage Packard owned by City Ballet patron and Coronado resident Chuck Steel. Dancers in silver and gold flapper dresses strolled through the reception, and posed for photos with delighted guests. Guests had the opportunity to win a pair of spectacular 18K white gold, onyx, pearl, and diamond earrings designed by John Matty especially for the Gala valued at $10,000. Directors Steven and Elizabeth Wistrich oversaw a fabulous evening filled with music, memorable dance moments, delicious food, wine and fundraising.
Guests were surprised and delighted to see City Ballet dancers perform a lively foxtrot/ballet to the music of Somewhere Beyond the Sea, performed at the top of the stairs ushering in dinner and the rest of the evening’s events. As guests entered the Ballroom, The Mighty Untouchables unleashed their amazing musical talent and guests enjoyed dinner created especially for the event by Master Chef Patrick Ponsaty. First course, was a refreshing California Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad with Pine Nuts, followed by entrée choices of Seared Beef Tenderloin, Seared Salmon Steak or Fresh Ricotta Gundis, closing with a delectable Dark Chocolate Mousse with Passion Cremeux and Mango Foam dessert. Tables were decorated in a 1920s theme with champagne bottles and martini glasses dripping with ‘pearls’. City Ballet dancers took the stage to perform a high-energy Charleston number which wowed the audience and Resident Choreographer Geoff Gonzalez introduced the upcoming 2019-2020 Season.
Master Auctioneer and MC Darren Diess recognized the many sponsors, underwriters and donors who helped make the evening possible. He then launched into the night of ‘fun’ fundraising beginning with bidding for several live auction items including a trip to Oahu where the winner will enjoy a week in a private home in Ke Ili Beach and airfare courtesy of Delta Airlines. Another lucky winner won four tickets to a Golden State Warriors game which included a wine tour for four in Napa and a two-night stay at San Francisco’s Hotel Griffon.
A very special and touching moment in the evening came when Honorary Chairs Barbie and Dan Spinazzola were presented with a surprise from City Ballet. As a thank you to the many years of support from Barbie and Dan, the company announced that a special show of Beauty and the Beast will be performed in their honor at Noah Homes, a residential facility for adults with disabilities that is close to the hearts of Barbie and Dan. A short video was shown of Noah Homes’ residents thanking Barbie and Dan for their support and giving their love. Tears were seen in the eyes of many gala guests.
The 250 guests opened their hearts and wallets after seeing an inspiring video depicting the many education and outreach programs City Ballet offers as well as excerpts of City Ballet performances in their home theatre, the historic Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego. The event raised over $250,000! Proceeds from this event will ensure that City Ballet of San Diego continues to present ballet performances and Education and Outreach Programs to over 20,000 children and patrons annually.
The Mighty Untouchables had guests on their feet for the rest of the evening as they performed and guests danced the night away. This was a glorious gala to embark on a memorable 27th Anniversary for City Ballet of San Diego.
Proceeds from ~ A Speakeasy Soirée Gala ~ benefit City Ballet’s productions and City Ballet’s Education and Outreach Programs including:
- Discover a Dancer offers free year-round ballet instruction for disadvantaged children and youth at risk.
- Ballet Goes to School offers a complete ballet education package for school children, including in-theater experiences and school assemblies.
- Summer Intensive is an annual 3-week summer program offering career-track dancers the opportunity to study with some of the finest ballet instructors assembled on the West Coast.
- Outreach Program is specifically designed to make ballet accessible to all persons in San Diego County with free and low-cost concerts throughout the county.
- Mainstage Productions presented during the 2019-20 Season, accompanied by the City Ballet Orchestra at Spreckels Theatre, include – Carmina Burana – The Nutcracker – Balanchine and More – Romeo and Juliet, plus the Family Ballet Saturdays Series.
The critically acclaimed company, under the direction of Steven and Elizabeth Wistrich, both former Boston Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet dancers, is best known for its commitment to presenting ballets by the legendary George Balanchine. This season the company continues that commitment by offering George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht Ballet and Who Cares? “We are honored that the prestigious George Balanchine Trust in New York City continues to grant us permission to present works by this legendary choreographer,” said Wistrich. All performances are presented at the historic Spreckels Theatre, downtown San Diego and accompanied by The City Ballet Orchestra with John Nettles conducting.
Carmina Burana – by Geoff Gonzalez to Carl Orff’s powerful score, back by popular demand, and Elizabeth Wistrich’s Straw Feet. November 1-3, 2019
The Nutcracker – an all-time holiday favorite offering twelve performances. December 6-22, 2019
Balanchine and More – Walpurgisnacht Ballet and Who Cares? by George Balanchine. Also included Hallelujah Junction by Peter Martins and Le Cosaire Pas de Deux with choreography after Marius Petipa. March 6-8, 2020
Romeo and Juliet – Choreographed by Elizabeth Wistrich and Geoff Gonzalez, Music by Sergei Prokofiev. May 8-10, 2020
VENUE and TICKETS
All ballet performances are at Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway, downtown San Diego.
Tickets range from $25 – $92